Well, here we are on the first Sunday in Advent. Yes, I can’t believe we are here either; time really does fly!

We don’t tend to make a big deal of every aspect of the church calendar because it can so easily lead to over-focusing on historical events or people. However, there are some powerful principles to be found there that are significant and important for our spiritual growth, no matter what the date or season!

Advent holds an emphasis that is really useful in helping us to stay focused all year round: it is the principle of expectation. (‘Advent’ derives from the Latin ‘Adventus’, which means ‘coming into place’). We are exhorted, during the run-up to Christmas, to make more room in our lives for Jesus Christ through prayer and/or fasting, and not just remember His arrival as a baby, but also look forward to that great Parousia (His second coming)! In a world that is increasingly ‘hyped up’ regarding the materialism that surrounds us, particularly at this time of year, it is essential that we focus on retaining and living first and foremost in the light of the truth of Christ above the dazzle of the world’s somewhat hollow interpretation of Christmas.